November 6 2016

Learning from Each Other

Learning from Each Other

“I grow old always being taught.” This ancient Greek saying expresses a truth about life that leads to heaven. It is only in a relationship that we can be taught and learn from each other. With the Church as our mother and teacher we learn to live together in humility, faith, patience and love waiting for God’s blessings. It is together that we experience joy and sorrow, anxiety and peace. We won’t always get what we want, when we want, how we want it, but through humility, patience and love as expressed by Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood in the Gospel, we learn to give glory to God.

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October 23 2016

We All Have Demons

When we hear about demon possession in the Holy Scriptures many of us don’t consider that we have anything to benefit. Many of us either do not believe in demons, or we accept that we aren’t ourselves possessed by demons. The truth is, we all have demons that take control over our life. Our demons may not be the spiritual demons that we read about in the Holy Scriptures, but we all have struggles that control us with no less power to cripple our lives. The Good News is that God is able and willing to heal us from our demons, no matter what that demon may be, and we can be freed from the struggle to follow Him and be a witness of the great things God has done for us. 

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October 16 2016

Working Our Soul for Good Seed

When it comes to our soul many of us live as if everything we learned in Sunday School was enough to get us through the daily struggles of life. Some even leaven their soul unattended, or worse allow bad seed to make its way in. As the Lord explains in the Parable of the Sower, our soul is at times hard, rocky, filled with weeds, or even rich fertile soil, but it doesn’t happen by itself. It requires work to improve the condition of our soul to receive the Word of God, and it requires work to maintain a healthy soul. Luck for us we have the Church and the way of life of Orthodox Christianity to work our soul to prepare it for the Good Seed, the Word of God.

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October 2 2016

The Road to Heaven

Sometimes we just need a bit of a reminder that, even though life has its challenges, the hope of the Gospel isn’t about this life. The hope of the Gospel is in the life that God has planned for us, living with Him in heaven. Saint Paul knew this. He knew the true struggle of every Christian especially in a world that at the time was much less tolerant of Christians that today’s world. Eve depended on her understanding of the benefit of eating the apple rather than on God, and we know what happened to Eve? Saint Paul is trying to remind us, “The transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.” The Church, through the entire life it presents to us, is trying to help us depend upon God rather than ourselves, and that takes endurance. It won’t be easy. That much we know, but it is worth the struggle.

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September 25 2016

Beyond Our Comfort Zone

Every now and then there comes a time in our life when God calls us to reach out of our comfort zone and trust that He knows our abilities and has our best interest in His mind. At those moments, it doesn’t do us any benefit to look back at our failures but ahead to God’s glory and promise for a blessed future. Too often our fears and lack of confidence take control and we refuse to trust that God indeed knows what He is doing.

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September 19 2016

Where is the Denial?

Jesus Christ invites every human being to follow Him to heaven with the challenge to “deny himself, take up his cross and follow.” Ever since Adam and Eve in the Garden, we have struggled with following our own will or the will of God. But if we desire to follow Christ to heaven, the first thing we must do is deny ourselves. Problem is.....most of us don’t do well with the denial part of following Christ.

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September 12 2016

Are You Saved? I Hope So…

When it comes to ‘being saved’ the Orthodox Church teaches a different understanding of our relationship with God than other Christians. What makes the issue more complicated is that we often use the same terms, like saved, to discuss quite different concepts. So when an Orthodox Christian is asked the question, “Are you saved?” our answer should be, “I was saved, I am saved, and I am being saved.” We do not pinpoint our salvation to an exact moment in time as do many Protestants. For us, the concept is different.

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September 5 2016

He Forgives Us

It doesn’t matter how you hear it, the Gospel is Good News. God has promised that our sins would be forgiven if only we ask. It doesn’t matter how much we owe God, the truth is that we could never possibly pay off what we owe no matter how we try, and still God is willing to forgive us. That’s Good News, right? It’s always Good News. It’s the way we listen that effects the way we hear the Good News. In the Gospel of Matthew (18.23-35) we find a man who owed more than he could ever pay. His debt was forgiven, but he was unwilling to forgive even the smallest debt a fellow servant owed to him. In return for his selfishness the master threw him in prison and he spent all eternity being tortured. But God still is willing to forgive us, and that will always be Good News.

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August 28 2016

Separation of Church and State

Our final “Ask Father” sermon for the season answers the question, “What is our Church view on the state law and our religious law?”During election season the balance between Church and State is often brought into the highlight. It can be a bit confusing navigating between the issues to determine if we as Orthodox Christians are obligated to follow the State or follow the Church. A brief study of the words of Saint Paul (Romans 13.1-7)helps us see the governing authorities have an obligation as well, to defend goodness. There might reason to ignore certain laws, but that does not eliminate the consequences.The end has a bonus question, so watch until the end!

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August 15 2016

What is God’s Plan?

In a world that focuses more and more upon building wealth and living a comfortable lifestyle, it has become increasingly popular to invoke God’s name as a defender of our wealth addiction. Popular Christian pastors on TV and the internet teach their flock, “Just believe enough in God and you will be rich. God has a plan for you to have a better job, a better house, a better life.” There is only one problem....that isn’t God’s plan. God’s plan is for you to live with Him in heaven for all eternity in real communion with Him. Life on earth has only one purpose, to prepare your heart to be with God. Stop wasting your time chasing material blessings, and begin to prepare your heart for God. This week’s “Ask Father” sermon addresses the question, “What is God’s Plan?”

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